A former Head of State, Gen. Yabuku Gowon, on his 83 birthday, has revealed the opposition to the establishment of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) at inception, saying they made efforts to kill the vision. He said: “We started the scheme with a fight, many don’t want it to be established and they were determined to kill it.
“I can assure you, I am very proud of the NYSC, we started with a fight the first group in 1973 because people were being fed with wrong information that i was going to enslave the graduates who should have started work immediately they left school and there is a car waiting for you and that they were going to be paid a small amount.
“They were determined to kill the whole idea not minding the reasons the NYSC was initiated by my government which was after what we have done to ourselves with the civil war, we have to ensure there is reconciliation and to encourage national unity. Reconciliation was very essential and the corps members needed to know areas other than their own. It is to encourage the youth corps members to learn to offer service of all kind to the community other than the ones they know.”
Earlier, the Director-General, Brig.-Gen. Suleiman Kazaure, who congratulated Gowon on his birthday, said the scheme must always be in touch “so as to drink from his wealth of wisdom.” He said though NYSC seemed like a child of necessity after the civil, it had been one of the best singular gift his administration had given to Nigerians, adding that “there is no local government in Nigeria that the scheme’s present are not felt across the country.” “Th is is why we are here to celebrate with you on your birthday and wish you many more years. You are 83 years, but you are looking much younger,” he said.